Timothy Bradford
Hamlet’s Letter from Exile

Dear Ophelia, I miss your ways with scrimshaw,
the delicate play of wrist over dull walrus
tusk for months till gleaming white fetishes
fell into our bed like solder from acetylene.
First, a school of Ozark Mountain fish to recall
your home: O Minnow, O Emerald Shiner, O
Missouri Saddle Darter, O Common Shiner,
O Hornyhead Chub. Then, the effigy of me. Finally,
a dinghy in miniature, an ivory-clothed ivory man
reared back with his impossibly thin spear aimed
at the heart of a whale. We were a circle of three
in the gloam of the oil lamp there by the looted
sea—you, me, our sculpted life in ivory.